Dominion East Ohio Reminds Customers Of Emergency Home Energy Assistance, Payment Programs For Winter Heating Help

Dec 18, 2006
7:00am

December 18, 2006

Dominion East Ohio reminds all of its customers that there are at least a dozen energy assistance programs, payment options and its Energy Share program available to help with upcoming winter heating bills, or past-due balances. While many of those programs are designed to help customers with limited incomes, others are available to all Dominion East Ohio customers.

Applications are now being accepted for the Emergency Home Energy Assistance Program (E-HEAP), which provides a one-time emergency payment of up to $175, either to avoid a shutoff or restore gas service for income-eligible residential customers. Customers may apply for E-HEAP at a local community action agency, now through March 31, 2007.

Applications for the regular Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), will also be accepted through March 31, 2007. Customers can get an application by calling the state HEAP office’s toll-free number: 1-800-282-0880, or download an application at the Ohio Department of Development Web site. Go to http://www.odod.state.oh.us

The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) provides a credit that is applied to a customer’s heating bill. To qualify, a customer’s yearly gross household income can be up to $17,150 for one person; $23,100 for two people; $29,050 for three; $35,000 for four; $40,950 for five and $46,900 for six. Add $5,950 for each additional person. The filing deadline is March 31, 2007. For details, call the state HEAP office toll-free at, 1-800-282-0880. Customers with Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDDs) call 1-800-633-8903.

In addition to E-HEAP and HEAP, a special Winter Reconnection Procedure is available to help any Dominion residential customer avoid a shutoff, or to restore service by paying the amount owed Dominion, not to exceed $175. Participating customers will be enrolled in a payment plan to help pay off any past-due balance. For more information, call Dominion at 1-800-950-7989. Customers can use the reconnection procedure or E-HEAP only once during the heating season.

Budget Billing

With the Budget Billing Plan, customers pay a fixed budget amount each month. Dominion East Ohio will review the budget amount periodically, and adjust it, if necessary, so that the customer won’t have a high balance or large credit at the end of the budget year. Customers must be current with their bill to be eligible for the budget billing option. To sign up, customers should call Dominion East Ohio at 1-800-362-7557.

Payment Plans

Dominion East Ohio also offers to eligible customers the Current-Plus Plan to help better manage gas bills. First, the customer decides how many months — up to six — it will take to pay off the balance. Then the company divides the total account balance by the number of months the customer selected, and adds that amount to the customer’s current monthly bill. The Current-Plus Plan is available to all residential customers who are not enrolled in the Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP). With the One-Third Payment Option, a payment of one-third of the total account balance is accepted to reconnect or prevent disconnection from now through April 13, 2007. To learn more about these payment options, call Dominion East Ohio at 1-800-362-7557.

Government Assistance Programs

The Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP) helps a customers maintain gas service by paying 10 percent of their total gross monthly household income. To qualify, yearly gross household income can be up to $14,700 for one person; $19,800 for two people; $24,900 for three; $30,000 for four; $35,100 for five; and $40,200 for six. Add $5,100 for each additional person. Household income means all money received during the last 12 months for all adults in the household. Gross household income is all income received before deductions. Income includes: wages, Social Security, state unemployment, veterans benefits, strike benefits, workers’ compensation, cash public assistance, relief payments, alimony and interest. It does not include money earned by children under 18 years old.

To apply for PIPP/HEAP, customers should take proof of their total household income for the past three or 12 months to the local HEAP office. Proof of income includes copies of: payroll stubs, Human Services case card and Ohio Bureau of Employment Services card, check or determination notice. Customers can also use a statement from an employer. Customers should take copies of their natural gas and electric bills. For the nearest HEAP office, customers should call toll-free, 1-800-282-0880.

If a customer is no longer income-eligible for PIPP, or voluntarily leaves the program, the PIPP Repayment Plan can help gradually pay off the total arrearage amount. Current or former PIPP customers should contact Dominion East Ohio at 1-800-362-7557, for specific information on the rules and guidelines of the PIPP Repayment Plan.

Weatherization Assistance may also be available from the Ohio Department of Development. This federally funded program provides grants for weatherization repairs. For details, call 1-800-282-0880.

Income-eligible customers can apply for Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP), Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), Emergency HEAP and Weatherization Assistance on a combined application. The form is available at post offices, libraries, by calling the State of Ohio HEAP office at 1-800-282-0880, or by downloading it from their Web site at http://www.odod.state.oh.us.

Participation in Energy Choice will not affect a customer’s eligibility for energy assistance. However, customers must be current with payments to participate in the Energy Choice program.

Other Assistance Programs

EnergyShare, a Dominion East Ohio sponsored fuel assistance program of last resort, is designed to help needy individuals and families pay any type of winter heating bill — natural gas, wood, oil, kerosene or electricity. Customers should contact their Local Salvation Army office to apply. Applications will be taken starting January 3, 2007. A grant of up to $500 may be awarded to eligible customers.

Weatherization assistance may also be available through the Dominion East Ohio-funded Housewarming program, which provides weatherization materials to eligible customers. Households that participate in PIPP or HEAP, may automatically qualify for Housewarming. For more information, contact the Cleveland Housing Network at 1-888-377-3774.

The Medical Certification Program delays a shutoff, or restores service, when it would be life threatening, or especially dangerous, to the health of a permanent member of a customer’s household. Medical certification forms are available by calling Dominion East Ohio. The program allows customers time to make payment arrangements or seek assistance — it does not reduce the amount they owe.

Dominion is one of the nation's largest producers of energy, with an energy portfolio of about 28,000 megawatts of generation. Dominion also serves retail energy customers in 11 states.  For more information about Dominion, visit the company's Web site at www.dom.com.

 

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CONTACTS:  
Media:

Jeff Zidonis, (216) 736-6228
In Lima, Peggy Ehora, (419) 226-4866

 


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